Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday - Baris NCEL Premier Division - Liversedge 0 v Arnold Town 1 & Brighouse Town 5 v Barton Town OB 1

'Hot cross buns, hot cross buns. one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns'
I've already visited the first two grounds that featured in today's NCEL Easter Groundhop schedule, but not the third or fourth.
So when I missed the deadline to travel on the organised coach transport (all my own fault), I made the 'executive decision', by proxy, on behalf of the Retford chapter of 'Sad Lad Football Travels inc.', that we would be leaving it until the afternoon to join in the fun and games, which meant just taking in the games at Liversedge and Brighouse Town, while missing the two earlier games at Eccleshill United and Thackley.
The powers that be in this green and pleasant land are currently holding us all to ransom with a fuel price swindle, that scam also had a major say in my decision.
Come on people!
Nobody voted for the coalition arrangement who are running this country (into the ground), so why are you all just sat their, in an apathetic stupor, tolerating having your very last breath taxed out of you, by this faux government?
(That's enough of that Trotsky - Keep politics off of football blogs Departmental Editor).
Just to add a bit of spice to the journey, the A1 northbound was closed a few miles to the north of Retford.
So with a hastily assembled 'suck it and see' plan B in place (so to speak) and a car stereo full of of the Studio 1 labels finest Rocksteady tunes (be careful what you ask for in future young Barlow!), we tentatively set off for them there Yorkshire hills and by some complete fluke ended up at Liversedge much sooner than originally anticipated.
Truth be told, we were far too early.
Note, my definition of the word tentatively and yours might differ somewhat.
The people at Liversedge were really welcoming and we made the 'Half Timers' bar our base camp.
Fairly soon a good few Arnold Town fans turned up, some of them were familiar faces it was good to see again, the others amongst their ranks were just as friendly too.
And an hour or so later the 'Millets Mafia' who were doing all 4 games today started arriving too.
From what I saw and heard, the event was running like clockwork, so big up n' nuff reeeespect, to Chris Berezai, the Groundhop organiser and co-ordinator.
I sometimes see some unkind things being said about Chris elsewhere on the internet, but I've always found him to be a good humoured, affable and easy to get on with kind of guy.
Some people with good taste and discerning on-line reading habits ;-)

Friday 6th April 2012
4.45pm, at Clayborn, Quaker Lane, Cleckheaton
Baris NCEL Premier Division
Liversedge (0) 0
Arnold Town (1) 1
Tyrone Burton 44
Note* The NCEL website incorrectly credited James Leggitt with the Arnold goal
Admission £3.50 Programme £1.50 Attendance 318
The Caborn ground is tucked away at the bottom of Quaker Lane (a narrow, bumpy track) and affords visitors unspoilt views of the surrounding countryside, a public footpath (where a railway line used to live), some sheep statues and, err ... Dewsbury.
It's actually a smashing little ground, open and exposed to the elements on two sides, but with an elevated terrace behind one goal ... Arnold's 'firm' took that over today ;-) ... and a decent sized seated stand along one touchline.
There are also bench type seats at the top of the grass banking where you enter the ground.
I'd definitely visit here again, but going by today's experience, that is probably more to do with the ambience of the place and the friendliness of the locals, than the actual standard of the football we witnessed this afternoon.
This one had 'nil - nil' written all over it

It was a bit chilly at 4.45 this afternoon, but not actually cold.
There was some intermittent light drizzle about, but no actual proper rain.
And even the half hearted breeze, with an exposed hillside to aim at, couldn't muster up enough enthusiasm and puff to pass itself off, convincingly, as real wind.
The game itself matched the mood of the weather too, very laid back, AKA a bit grim and it never really got going either.
I was going to make a few notes, but after scribbling down '30 minutes gone and neither side's created a chance on goal yet' I put my pen away.
The rest is from memory.
With just over five minutes of a lacklustre first half remaining, Luke Smithson of Arnold, finally broke the efforts on goal duck, but fired almost wide enough for it not to count as one.
Just before the break, Martin Carruthers was fouled just outside the box and Arnold got a free kick.
James Leggitt hit the dead ball on target but Danny Knight got down well to save it, unfortunately for the Liversedge keeper, the ball spun off of him and Tyrone Burton managed to twist and turn and slot the ball home from an awkward angle.
Half time 0-1
Left click image to enlarge

After the break, the game continued to be a no frills and no thrills affair.
I took the opportunity to compos a version a Blue Moon to fit the occasion; "Teeth pulled, it's just like having teeth pulled" and had a caffeine shot to see me through until full time.
Liversedge stepped things up very slightly (emphasise on the very) towards the end, but most of their efforts were restricted by the Arnold defence, to long range, ineffective, off target pops at goal.
Liversedge had a corner in the last ten minutes, the initial kick was cleared, but a second cross found James Hurtley, who headed over from virtually under the bar.
A mix up between Arnold's keeper Danny Gordon and their captain Joe Wood, almost provided a comedic finale to the game, but they managed to clear the ball and spare their blushes, while preserving a slim lead and ensuring they took all 3 points home into the bargain.
I really liked Liversedge's ground and it was good to catch up with Dennis & Co. from Arnold again, but I was quite relieved when the final whistle got ever closer and we could move round to the exit for a quick getaway.
They don't call this the 'little boys room' for nothing

The toilets at Liversedge FC are a 'quaint' feature of the Caborn Ground.
Note* I don't actually take photographs inside public toilets and post them on the internet, the fact that I haven't posted on the Worksop Town FC fans forum for a while either, may or may not be a coincidence to that end.
The lavatorial facilities are 'limited' to say the least.
If you're over five feet tall or weigh more than 8 stone (I qualify then) and you're planning to visit Liversedge FC, make sure you go before you set off.
The consequence of trying to fit more than two people into such a restricted space don't bear thinking about.
7 miles or so over the other side of the M62, or under it if you're going by road, or via the M62 and back off of it again (ahem) if you follow a certain navigator's directions :-O, live Brighouse Town FC, that's where we went next.
Friday 6th April 2012
7.45pm at the Dual Seal Stadium, Hove Edge, Brighouse
Baris NCEL Premier Division
Brighouse Town (2) 5
Tony Matthews 25 pen, 27
Danny Nadiole 49, 54, 59
Barton Town Old Boys (0) 1
Richard Medcalf 68
Admission £5 Programme £1 Attendance 288
So let's look at what the Dual Seal Stadium's got going for it.
Well, there's a strip of higgledy piggledy concrete hard standing, that runs all around the perimeter of the pitch, which provides a few interesting obstacle course challenges, at regular intervals, for the more gung ho, outdoor challenge inclined type of visitor.
There weren't many takers today though.
A main stand, which is in fact the only stand, fills the middle third of one touch line and offers covered standing in one half and seats in the other. If you look at it through squinted eyes, which I'm sure you all will do now, it's not dissimilar to the one at Clipstone Welfare's Lido Ground.
Behind one goal there are WC facilities that people can actually fit into and use, and two portakabin style rooms.
One is the bar cum clubhouse, for use by the general public and the other, is for dignitaries and VIP's who don't want to mix with the riff raff, or queue their food.
And for some reason, Brighouse Town FC, have three dug outs.
And that's about your lot.
To be honest, although I enjoyed the game and the camaraderie of the occasion, Brighouse's ground won't be going onto my list of '100 favourite ground's I've visited' any time soon.
But it's adequate enough for their purpose and I've certainly seen worse, so I shouldn't be too disparaging about it.
After all, we were here, primarily, to watch a football match and Brighouse Town put on a thoroughly entertaining display, that had a good few of their new audience 'cooing' with appreciation.
Our second game of the day, was a vast improvement on the first.
With three sides open to the increasing threat of a downpour, it got quite crowded and cosy under the roof.
Barton started the liveliest.
They were obviously in high spirits following their midweek win over the high flying FA Vase semi finalists Staveley Miners Welfare, but as the first half went on without them making any in roads, they lost a bit of momentum and the home side took up the challenge of putting on a show for this larger than average crowd instead.
They passed with flying, bright dazzling orange, colours.
Argentina v Holland

Tony Matthews put Brighouse ahead from the penalty spot and within two minutes had scored again.
The visitors were now chasing the game, but didn't look to have the heart or legs for any kind of pursuit this evening. And they would've been grateful to hear the half time whistle, to give themselves a chance to regroup and come out afresh after the break.
Don't left click to enlarge, no really!

While we waited for the teams to come back out, a nice man from the Scunthorpe area, won the ever so entertaining half time 'Gurning Contest'.
Left click to enlarge

I thought Barton would make a game of it in the second half.
But you know what thought did, don't you!?
Cometh the (45 minutes to) the hour, cometh the man; Brighouse's Danny Nadiole stepped up to the mark and stole the show, with three high class finishes inside 10 second half minutes, to claim a quite outstanding hat trick.
Barton had beaten Brighouse by five goals to nil earlier in the season, tonight's result must have been sweet to savour for Paul Quinn's team.
By their own admission, the home side then adopted a 'feet up, job done' attitude, and who could blame them?
But it gave Barton the chance to pull a goal back through Richard Medcalf on 68 minutes, not that this was ever likely to signal a Barton resurgence or anything.
At times during the last twenty minutes, things got a bit feisty, with some heavy tackles flying in.
Tom Lee of Barton, was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Danny Hull, reducing his side to ten men.
In the closing stages, Richard Medcalf and Nick Jagger fronted up to each other.
Barton's goal scorer Medcalf, didn't have the 'm-m-m-moves like Jagger' and got pushed onto his bum in the exchange.
It looked as though this pulsating game would now finish 10 aside, but the referee just booked both players for aggressive behaviour instead.
The Barton manager Dave Anderson remonstrated with the referee, shouting "I can't get no satisfaction", or similar, but Mr Nield just told him to get off of his cloud and carried on with game.
You don't always get what you want Dave ;-)
To be honest, I was a bit taken aback that some people were getting so heated when the game was effectively over as a contest anyway and one side were clearly the deserving victors by quite some way.
A special mention must go to Brighouse,s Leon Henry, who twisted and turned, pulling Barton to bits down the left flank all night.
I know a good few Frickley Athletic fans who wish he'd never left them earlier this season.
Had it not been for the high calibre of Danny Nadiole's three excellently taken goals (all greeted by an enthusiastic and prolonged pronunciation of his name over the stadium PA system), Leon, for me, would've been man of the match.
Obviously though, that excellent number 11 with an hat trick to his name was.
The close proximity of the M62 meant we were soon on the way home after the final whistle and in spite of the 50MPH average speed cameras it didn't take us long to get back.
No day out with fellow anoraks and misfits would be complete
without a couple of essential purchases

Next up - tomorrow I'm heading to Nene Park, formerly the home of Rushden & Diamonds (R.I.P.), to see Kettering Town v. Mansfield Town. May the best team win, unless the Poppies play well of course, in which case "Come on you Stags!"